“Hundreds of thousands of Americans lost their Medicaid benefits in April, as emergency pandemic provisions that kept people enrolled over the past few years began to end. The coverage losses are going to only grow,” Dylan Scott writes over at Vox. “In Florida, nearly 250,000 people lost Medicaid coverage in April, as states began a process to check whether everyone currently enrolled in Medicaid still meets the eligibility criteria. About 73,000 people were also deemed ineligible in Arkansas. Another 53,000 had their coverage terminated in Indiana and 40,000 were removed from Medicaid in Arizona. Policy experts and advocates warned before the eligibility checks began that people who are still eligible for Medicaid could lose their insurance due to administrative problems, such as not receiving mail from the state or not returning documentation to confirm they are still eligible. Now the early evidence suggests that’s exactly what is happening. In Florida, for example, more than 80 percent of people who were dis-enrolled from Medicaid were kicked off for procedural reasons. About the same share of people who lost coverage in Arkansas and Indiana were deemed ineligible because they failed to report information to the state or because the state could not reach them. Only a small percentage of people — about one in seven in Arkansas — were removed because they were no longer eligible (i.e., their income had grown to the point it exceeded Medicaid eligibility limits). ‘Too many people are falling through the cracks in the system,’ Alison Yager, executive director of the Florida Health Justice Project, said. … During the pandemic, Congress provided additional funding to states so they would maintain what’s called ‘continuous coverage.’ That meant states stopped their periodic checks of people’s Medicaid eligibility and everyone on the program remained eligible, even if their income or life circumstances changed. In part as a result, Medicaid enrollment had ballooned to more than 90 million Americans by the start of this year. But the public health emergency is over. Every state is beginning to check the eligibility of every Medicaid recipient.” Dylan Scott, “Hundreds of thousands of Americans are losing Medicaid every month,” Vox.
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded... More by Jeanne Pinder